Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lighting a match to the Encyclopedia Britannica

I read a blog post recently about a guy who decided to light a match to his 32-volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica. His reason for doing this was that the Encyclopedia Britannica was outdated and no longer used thanks to online sites like Wikipedia. He couldn't even give them away. Schools and libraries don't even want a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. You can't even sell them on e-Bay. NOBODY wants them. But personally, I think the guy was making a big mistake.

I own a 32-volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica that was published in 1958. Those were the days when encyclopedia salesman pedaled these expensive sets door-to-door. It was called the "Britannica Advantage" and part of the marketing was the knowledge this set of encyclopedias would give your child an edge over students in school.

The question raised by the announcer in TV commercials: "How far do your kids have to go when they need information in a hurry?" The voice over continues, "If only he had the new Encyclopedia Britannica at home." How could any loving, caring parent deny their child the Encyclopedia Britannica Advantage?

My parents didn't. They not only purchased the set of Encyclopedia Britannica with the yearbook subscription for the next 10-years. But they also provided me and my brother with Britannica Junior which had less info than its big brother, but was easier to use. We also had a new set of World Book Encyclopedias, which were much easier to read with less info, but more colorful pictures. Is it any wonder that I aced most reports and even corrected a professor in college about the philosopher and French mathematician Pascal, based on info gleaned from my time spent perusing these encyclopedias.

Maybe these encyclopedia salesmen were selling a dream, but for me it worked. I spent quite a bit of time reading and using my set of Britannica and World Book. Maybe in most homes, they were nothing more than a status symbol alongside a piano or a newly purchased color television in a big wooden cabinet. Similarly, the Encyclopedia Britannica came in their own self-contained mahogany bookcase.

When we moved from New Hampshire to Kentucky, we sent everything on ahead via United Van Lines. But it forced us to pare down stuff because you don't want to be moving junk across country.

We sold 2 window air conditioning units and gave one away, almost brand-new with remote control.  We also gave away a nice Mitsubishi TV, books, cds, videos, wall units and other stuff. We sold a really good snow blower along with our cross-country skis, etc. But what did we keep? Our 32-volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica. Why?

What good is this old out-dated encyclopedia when we have access to the internet, Wikipedia, Google, Bing, etc? Each volume weighs in at a hefty 4-lbs. in a day when you can get the encyclopedia on your tablet, or quickly "google" the info you need. Do I miss the smell of the leather binding, or turning the crisp pages. No. My reason for holding onto to the Encyclopedia Britannica and displaying all 32-volumes prominently in our built-in living room bookcase has nothing to do with nostalgia.

In my next post, I'll tell you why we haven't set a match to our encyclopedias, and why we NEVER will. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Foolish principal thinks we worship Easter

The principal at Heritage Elementary School in Madison, Alabama has banned Easter. Well, at least the word, "Easter." Teachers at Heritage Elementary School in Madison, AL.were informed Monday that their plans to have an 'academic egg hunt' with their kindergarten and second grade students would need to be scrapped because they're getting rid of the word "Easter." "Easter" is not permitted. They can still have an Easter but it will just be a bunny. There can still be an Easter egg roll, but it can't be an Easter egg roll. Just an egg roll. Easter is being eliminated because it's not inclusive.

Principal Lydia Davenport, Heritage
Elementary School, Madison, AL.
According to Lydia Davenport, the school's principal, this Easter business was too exclusionary because not everybody's a Christian and not everybody believes in Easter, so we're NOT going to force Easter on people in our school.

I've got news for Ms. Davenport, the all-wise, all-knowing, politically-correct principal. Nobody worships Easter. She is quoted as saying, not everybody believes in Easter. Here's a news flash for you, Ms. Davenport--NOBODY believes in Easter, but a good number of people in the world believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior, the Lord of all the Earth, the Way, the Truth and the Life, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Firstborn from the Dead, the Alpha and the Omega (I'll stop here although He has many more titles). 

Easter is not about a bunny or an egg roll. Easter is about Jesus, the Messiah, who conquered death and rose from the grave on the 3rd day. Easter is about an empty tomb and a Savior who is now alive and able to make intercession on our behalf, a Savior who is now seated at the right hand of God, the Father.

The Empty Tomb
So Ms. Lydia Davenport, you can ban Easter-a name and a holiday because it's too exclusionary. But you can't ban Jesus, the Messiah, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and guess what? He is as exclusionary as you can get. He  DOES EXCLUDE all other religions and religious prophets, leaders, sages, etc.. Jesus said, "No man comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6). When you are the real deal, and everything and everyone else is a counterfeit or false god, you can make a bold statement like that, especially when you can back it up with your death on the cross as a the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind and then put the exclamation mark on it by rising from the grave three days later.
John 11:25 (ESV)
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 
Acts 4:1-2 (ESV)
1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them,
2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
2 greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead., 
Acts 4:10-12 (ESV)
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

God's intolerance for the Canaanites and their child sacrifices

My second example of God's intolerance is his treatment of the Canaanites. He didn't want the Israelites to hang-out with the Canaanites or intermarry with them. In fact, God's prescription for dealing with the Canaanites was to "wipe them all out." But here's the reason why--the Canaanites sacrificed their children to false gods.

James Michener in his novel, The Source, describes this ritual and the pain and sorrow that attended it. Even though this is a long excerpt, try to read it in its entirety because it is very poignant and moving: 
Timna was an unusual girl who had come from Akka with her father on a trading visit...,she had been childless and the target of contempt from Matred, but with the recent arrival of her first son a more harmonious balance had been achieved. As a mother she could demand respect from Matred, but now, her composure fled, she told her husband, “The priest of Melak was here.”
This was what Urbaal had expected. It was bound to come and he wished he knew something that would console his gentle wife, but he had learned that in these matters nothing could be done. “We’ll have other children,” he promised. She started to weep and a clever lie sprang to his mind. “Timna,” he whispered seductively, “look at what I’ve just bought you. A new Astarte.” She looked at the smiling goddess, so bursting with fertility, and covered her face.
“Could we run away?” she pleaded.
“Timna!” The idea was blasphemous, for Urbaal was definitely a part of the land … this land … these olive trees by the well.
“I will not surrender my son,” she persisted.
He was tempted to show his irritation, but she was so gentle that he did not. Instead he reasoned, “It is to Melak that we look for protection. Great El is necessary, and we cherish him, but in war only Melak is our protector.”
“Why must he be so cruel?” Timna pleaded.
“He does much for us,” Urbaal explained, “and all he asks in return … our first-born sons.” To the farmer this was persuasive logic, and he started to leave for his olive fields, but Timna held his hands, pleading, until he felt that he must shock her into reality. “As long as Makor has existed,” he said harshly, “we have delivered to Melak our first-born sons. Matred did so.
Shortly after dawn a group of priests in red capes passed through the streets banging drums and sounding trumpets, and it was a mark of Urbaal’s confusion that in spite of the grief he felt over the impending loss of his son, he nevertheless hurried to the door to see if the tall slave girl was marching with the priests. She was not.
When the procession had made several circuits of the town, the drumming ceased, the priests separated, and mothers began to feel the ultimate terror. Finally a knock came on Urbaal’s door, and a priest appeared to claim Timna’s first-born son. Timna began to scream, but her husband placed his hand over her mouth and the priest nodded his approval, carrying the child from the house. After a while the drumming resumed and cymbals clashed. A trumpet blew and excited mutterings were heard in the town. “We must go,” Urbaal said, taking Timna’s hand. But Timna, who was not of Makor, could not bring herself to attend the terrible rites. “Let me at least stay hidden,” she begged.
Patiently Urbaal took her to the room of the gods and showed her his smiling Astarte. “Last night,” he assured her, “Baal-of-the-Storm came and made sport with the goddess. I watched them. She’s pregnant now, and you shall be too, I promise you.” He dragged her to the door, pulled her hands away as she tried to hold herself to an entrance pillar. Then he lost his patience and slapped her sharply.
“What are sons for?” he asked. “Stop crying.” But when they were in the street he felt sorry for
her and wiped away her tears. Matred, his first wife, who had known this day, said nothing but watched from behind. “Let her know sorrow,” she mumbled to herself.
With an aching pain in his chest Urbaal led his two wives along the twisting street to the temple square, but before he entered that sacred place he took a deep breath, set his shoulders and did his best to quell the panic in his guts. “Let us all be brave,” he whispered, “for many will be watching.” But as luck would have it, the first man he saw in the holy area was the herdsman Amalek, who was also trying to control his anguish, and the two men whose sons were to go that day stared at each other in mute pain. Neither betrayed his fears, and they marched together to the monoliths, lending strength and dignity to the ritual.
Between the palace and the four menhirs dedicated to the gentler gods had been erected a platform of movable stones, under which a huge fire already raged. On the platform stood a stone god of unusual construction: it had two extended arms raised so that from the stone fingertips to the body they formed a wide inclined plane; but above the spot where they joined the torso there was a huge gaping mouth, so that whatever was placed upon the arms was free to roll swiftly downward and plunge into the fire. This was the god Melak, the new protector of Makor.
Slaves heaped fresh fagots under the statue, and when the flames leaped from the god’s mouth two priests grabbed one of the eight boys—a roly-poly infant of nine months—and raised him high in the air. Muttering incantations they approached the outstretched arms, dashed the child upon them and gave him a dreadful shove downward, so that he scraped along the stony arms and plunged into the fire. As the god accepted him with a belch of fire there was a faint cry, then an anguished scream as the child’s mother protested.
Urbaal looked quickly to see that the cry had come from one of the wives of Amalek, and with bitter satisfaction he smiled. The priests had noticed this breach of religious solemnity, and Urbaal thought: They will remember that Amalek couldn’t control his wife. This year they will choose me.

The last child was a boy of nearly three—his parents had prayed that the years had passed when he might be taken—and he was old enough to understand what
was happening, so with frightened eyes he drew back from the priests, and when they lifted him to the god he screamed, trying to hold on to the stone fingers and save himself, but the priests pulled away his small, clutching hands, and with a violent push sent him tumbling into the flaming mouth.
As soon as the boy had disappeared, wailing in fiery smoke, the mood of the temple changed. The god Melak was forgotten; his fires were allowed to die down and his priests turned to other important matters. Drums resumed their beat—this time in livelier rhythms—and trumpets sounded. 
The people of Makor, satisfied that their new god would protect them, left him smoking by the monoliths and gathered about the steps of the temple itself, where a sense of excitement replaced the terror that had recently held sway. Even the mothers of the eight boys, numb with pain, were moved into new positions, and although they must have longed to flee that place and grieve in silence, they were required as patronesses who had pleased the god with their first-born to remain in locations of honor. They were permitted neither to comment nor to look away, for this was the tradition of their society and would be forever.
I'll leave you with this thought. If God judged and hated the Canaanites who sacrificed maybe 5-10 children maybe, once a month, at the most. What do you think his thoughts are towards us here in the United States where we slaughter upwards of 4,000 innocent unborn babies every day?

Who do you think needs to change? Does God need to become more tolerant of abortion, homosexuality, adultery, sexual perversion, or do you and I and the rest of our society need to become more intolerant and less accommodating to these perverse sins? I would much rather side with God than with man, any day, because man's social morals and standards are always shifting as the sands in the desert, but God's standards never change. The Bible says, "He is the same, yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Is God an intolerant bigot or homophobe?

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After watching 2 episodes of the Bible mini-series on the History Channel, it got me to thinking. How tolerant is God? What is the number one value and virtue in public high schools, colleges and universities and today? It's either tolerance or diversity. But I think tolerance trumps diversity in terms of values being taught and disseminated in our society.

It's against the backdrop of tolerance that Islam has made inroads both here in the U.S. as well as all throughout Europe. It's also because of tolerance that the gay agenda has been championed in schools, as well as in the media. USA Today is determined to have  at least one pro-gay story each week, and you're left feeling like an intolerant bigot if you don't agree with their stated views. 

This got me to thinking. How tolerant is God? In other words, is God a bigot? Is God homophobic? Is God pro-choice? Is the Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth intolerant of adultery, fornication, homosexuality, transgenders? Would God be a big supporter of Planned Parenthood or GLAAD?

Off the top of my head, I can think of two glaring instances (I can actually think of many more, but I don't have the space and you probably don't have the time) where God revealed his intolerance. One was Sodom and Gomorrah where he judged those two cities and rained down fire and brimstone on them from heaven, and their judgment has stood to this day. But, why were Sodom and Gomorrah judged in such a severe manner? Because homosexuality and perverse sexuality were rampant.

Jude 1:7 (ESV) gives us further insight:
7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. 
 The other example in the Bible that reveals God's intolerance is his judgment of the Canaanites. In Gen. 24, Abraham sends out his servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac, but he makes his servant swear that he will NOT take a wife for Isaac from among the Canaanites. What was so bad about the Canaanites? God is giving the instructions to the Children of Israel and in Exodus 23:23-24 (ESV), He says, 
23 “When my angel goes before you and brings you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, and I blot them out,
24 you shall not bow down to their gods nor serve them, nor do as they do, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their pillars in pieces. 
What does God have against the Canaanites and all the other "ites"? I'll give you some more insight in my next post where I offer a description of the Canaanite ritual of child-sacrifice.

But for now, let me leave you with this question:
What are your thoughts on tolerance? 
Do you think tolerance is one of the most important values that we can adhere to in our society today?

Do you think God is tolerant?
Do you think God is intolerant of anything? Do you subscribe to different values than God? Leave a comment. Let me know what you think, and don't miss the next post on the Canaanites and how their value and beliefs are still being practiced today here in the good ol' USA.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Review of MTV version of The Bible now playing on the History Channel

Last night, while playing catch-up and watching the 2nd installment of the Bible on the History Channel, Renee and I decided to throw in the towel. We both agreed that we couldn't stand this series any longer. This "Bible" is totally Hollywood with so many liberties undertaken. At times, I felt like it was an MTV "car-chase" version of the Bible, made to hold the interest of the pre-teen viewing audience.

Renee and I both thought it lacked substance and could have included some of the great prayers of the Bible. This mini-series is a vague series of happenings strung together with very little context or connection with wooden characters. You feel no real empathy for the characters since you have very little time to get to know them.

When you've seen a series like HBO's Rome, you realize that this production is so "cheesy" and lacking in any real substance with stilted dialogue. They skip over the Tower of Babel (which would've looked great on the screen) and bring us to Abraham. But we're not given the greatness and majesty of Abraham's story. Instead, we are left with a Cliff notes version and no attempt to depict the crux of the story in Genesis 15 where God takes Abraham outside at night and asks him to count the stars. God tells him that his descendants will be more numerous than all the stars in the sky. At the same time, God tells him that in his old age, he will have a son.

Samson with dreadlocks played by
Nigerian actor, Nonso Anozie
I was surprised that this production of the Bible omitted the story of Joseph which actually explains how the Jews ended up in Egypt, and after 400 yrs, were in slavery and in need of a deliverer. Enter Moses, stage right. For me personally, the story of Joseph is one of the most exciting stories in the Bible, especially appealing to young people since he was sold into slavery by his brothers at the young age of 17. .

There has been a lot of discussion about the depiction of a black Samson who is very wooden and stiff. I also felt that Samson may not have been a big muscular hulk because we are told that his strength came when the Spirit of the Lord was upon him. I felt that having a "black" Samson was an "over the top" attempt at diversity, even at the expense of accuracy. I'm not being racist. I didn't want to see any Irish or Norwegians in the film as well. There are no other black people in the film, but we are treated to Samson and his mother as blacks (from Nigeria). When you visit Israel, you will see very few blacks, even though in recent years, there has been an influx of black Jews from Ethiopia.

Satan played by Mohamen Mehdi Quazani. There are some
who think he bears a striking resemblance to our president.
Finally, in the first episode, I should have known that this series was going to sugarcoat the Bible when the scene in Sodom & Gomorrah failed to depict any evidence of homosexuality. In Genesis account, God says the outcry of flagrant sin from Sodom is so immense that God is going to bring judgment on the city. Abraham then intercedes for Sodom and for Lot and his family.

The producers omitted any evidence of homosexuality which is so clearly stated in Genesis when the men of the city attempt to break down the door to Lot's house because they want to rape  the angels. To appease their sexual lusts, Lot offers them his daughters instead.

How can you depict the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and not show the REASON for God's judgment. It was because of homosexuality. But then again, the producers probably would never have gotten this series even made, or placed on the History Channel if they had given us the actual story from Genesis! Again, score one for political-correctness, at the expense of the facts. Then, we are treated to "Ninja" angels wielding swords, when the Bible clearly tells us that the angels struck the men of the city with blindness so that Lot and his family could escape.

Your best bet is to just sit down and read the Bible in a modern English version, starting with Genesis, along with a good commentary to help give you better understanding.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

On "staying awake!"

Today I was reading the words of Jesus in Mark 13 where he is talking to his disciples about his second coming. He tells them that no man knows the day or the hour, so we must be on guard and keep awake. He warns them (and us) that he could come suddenly and find us asleep, so once again he says, "...I say to all of you, 'Stay awake!'"

Ever since my late teens, I have believed that we are in the last days. However, I don't believe that Jesus will come in the next hour or day or month. I am NOT looking for the pre-trib rapture (see one of my posts on that subject), but I AM looking for the 2nd coming of the Messiah, Yeshua (Jesus). 

We read in Revelation 16 about three major armies coming from the north, the east and the south to converge in the battle of Armageddon, located in the valley of Megiddo, located in Israel, I see that this easily points to the armies of Russia, China and the Arab states coming together to destroy Israel. I believe that this could possibly happen in my lifetime. 

Until then, what must you and I do to stay awake? What does that mean? Do you down a lot of "No Doze" or Red Bull, or drink lots of coffee? Of course not--that's not the kind of "awake" of which Jesus is speaking . He's talking about staying connected to our brothers and sisters, focusing on loving one another, serving one another, praying for the saints, looking for ways to honor one another, hating evil, loving what is good, showing hospitality, contributing to the needs of the saints, not repaying evil for evil, doing what is honorable in the sight of everyone, etc. Read more at Romans 12:9-21.

Staying awake doesn't necessarily mean immersing ourselves in church activities. Much of our church activity can be an escape from being "in the world, but not of it." I think Jesus might want us to be involved with something like Big Brothers or Big Sisters, the Salvation Army, Teen Challenge, a local hospice, going to your local prison or jail, serving families of prisoners, or helping the poor, etc.

I think "staying awake" means doing what Jesus would do, hanging out with sinners, loving them and serving them. After all, the Bible says that Jesus was "a friend of sinners." Can the same be said of me or you? Do your non-Christian co-workers want to hang out with you, or you with them? Most Christians I know here in the Bible-belt don't have too many non-Christian friends, and the thought of going to a bar is anathema (like being "damned to hell"). But personally, the Jesus that I worship would go to a bar and be very comfortable and at home there, even as he was at the Wedding at Cana where he performed his first miracle. 

Even as I write this, I am convicted and fall far short of the mark. I'm not doing most of what I've written, at this present time. In the past, yes--but right now, no. So I need to take my own words to heart. I need to focus on what it means for me to "stay awake" where I live. Grow where you are planted. Tend to the garden where you live  

Last of all, for us to "stay awake" as believers, I think we need to love the Jews and Israel. We need to pray for Israel. We as believers need to seek the salvation of the Jews--not to try to turn them into good little Christians (which has been our self-imposed stumbling block and the major reason why most Jews don't want to hear about Jesus). We need to talk to them about the Messiah, Yeshua, who is their Messiah, the chosen and anointed one. We need to explain to them Isaiah 53 that the Messiah has come. He was born according to the prophet Micah in Bethlehem, and he was sacrificed for our sins and raised to life on the third day. We need to invite them to become "completed Jews," not Christians. I'm not so sure I want to be called "Christian" so why would a Jew want to be? I'm more comfortable with being a follower of Jesus (Yeshua). Jews need to be introduced to Yeshua, their Messiah and Savior.

Paul writes in Ephesians 3 that the great mystery of the ages is that Jews and Gentiles are now members of the same body. They are One in Christ. For sometime now, I've thought that Islam which is a thorn in the side of both Jews and Christians, will not be overcome or arrested in its worldwide expansion until one thing happens: A oneness between Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus, the Messiah and Our Savior. 

For starters, as believers, we need to be reading the Old Testament because Jesus is found on every page of the Old Testament (Luke 24:25-27). Timothy became a believer, not because he read the Gospels, but through reading the Old Testament scriptures which made him wise unto salvation (there was NO New Testament for Timothy to read, he was saved through the Old Testament scriptures). If your pastor doesn't regularly preach from the Old Testament, you need to ask him, "Why? Because "All scripture is inspired of God" and you can't understand the New Testament if you don't know the Old Testament. You can't understand what the John the Baptist's statement, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" means if you haven't read Leviticus. You can't really know what Paul means in Romans 4 about Abraham being justified by faith if you haven't read Genesis.

The writer of Hebrews begins by saying "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets..." That's the Old Testament. In Hebrews 3:7-10, it says for us to not harden our hearts as they did in the rebellion on the day in the wilderness." What rebellion? What day? If you haven't read Numbers, you'll be clueless. How did they harden their hearts in Numbers? in the wilderness? Again, I repeat, if you aren't reading the Old Testament, you'll be fairly clueless as to what is really being said in the New Testament because the Old Testament is the key that unlocks the New Testament. 

As the Church, we need to be praying for our Jewish friends and neighbors and loving them and looking for opportunities to serve them and present the Good News that the Messiah has come! We need to visit and support Israel which basically is hated by the entire world, including many in the U.S. and some in the church. That should tell you something--that Israel is hated by so many--which to me reveals that Israel is holy and set-apart by God and the world is trying as always, to destroy that which belongs to God because they hate God and anything that God loves, namely Israel. 

When we start to reach out to Jews and to Israel, we'll begin to see the hold that Islam has on this world broken and weakened. We will also be that much closer to the second coming of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Legal Smack-down for the NYC "Soda Jerk"

On Monday, Mayor Michael (Nanny) Bloomberg was dealt a stinging blow when a NY-state Supreme Court Judge struck down his ban on the sale of large sugary drinks at the city's restaurants and other venues.

 At a late afternoon news conference, Mr. Bloomberg said "It would be irresponsible not to try to do everything we can to save lives." He also called for other cities across the nation to follow his example.

To "do everything we can to save lives" has no limits:
  • Why not ban donuts? Of course, he'd have to get that ban past the police unions. 
  • Why not limit the sale of wine to 375 ml bottles to keep people from getting drunk. The consumption of too much alcohol leads to drunk driving and needless injuries and deaths each year in NYC. 
  • Also, figure out a way to regulate sleep so that everyone gets at least 8-hrs. of sleep each night. Maybe forcing everyone to turn off their lights at 11pm or face stiff penalties. The list is endless. 
  • But if Bloomberg really wants to save lives, he could go after the medical industry which performs 200,000 abortions a yearly, but then again, that would "kill" too many campaign donations from his friends in the medical profession. 

It's quite obvious that Mayor Bloomberg is a 5'7" little man with a lot of money and an obvious Napoleonic complex. Bloomberg's legacy will hopefully be his new nickname, "Soda-jerk."

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A new fearless leader: Rand Paul shifts the political orbit!

Finally, we have a leader-someone who stood up to Obama, and the Washington establishment and in the process, shifted the political orbit. Of course, I'm talking about my senator, Rand Paul of Kentucky, who created a sensation in Washington and online Wednesday when he stood up and spoke for nearly 13 hours straight in the Senate chamber, railing against the use of unmanned drones. 

Here are some of Rand Paul's best lines during his 13-hour filibuster:

  • On smoking:
"If we believe [Obama] to be a good man who would never kill noncombatants in a cafe in Houston, sitting out in a sidewalk cafe, smoking — oh, that's right you're not allowed to smoke cigarettes anymore."
  • On Obama's shift on civil liberties: 
"I think its also safe to say that Barack Obama of 2007 would be right down here with me arguing against this drone-strike program if he we're in the Senate."
  • On the White House "kill list":
"You don't think a President working off of PowerPoint slides and flash cards might not make a mistake?"
  • Claiming that the filibuster was not partisan:
“I have allowed the president to pick his political appointees...But I will not sit quietly and let him shred the Constitution."
  • Invoking Hitler: 
"I'm not saying that anyone is Hitler, don't misunderstand me. But what I am saying that is…when a democracy gets it wrong, you want the law to be in place.”

Rand Paul during his 13-hour filibuster
While the old Republican guard were being wined and dined by Obama, Rand Paul was pouring his heart out on the senate floor taking the issue of drones directly to the American people. The crux of Rand's filibuster was this: Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat or on American soil? If an American is seated at an outdoor restaurant and the U.S. government deems him a threat to the safety of U.S. citizens, can the U.S. government take him out with a drone strike? 

And what about collateral damage, innocent citizens who would be killed because they happened to be in the company of the target? Rand Paul was seeking an answer to this question from both Obama and Attorney General, Eric Holder. 

Rand Paul, joined by Sen. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, took on this administration over the Constitution, over personal freedom and liberty. Finally, someone said "Enough is enough!" 

Many Americans are depressed and saddened by the direction of this country and it was a shot in the arm to see Rand Paul's filibuster. We've been waiting for someone in the Republican party to stand up to this administration. 

Sadly, most of the Republicans are gutless and act as though there is no real crisis in our nation. While Rand Paul was ranting about freedom and liberty, you had Sen. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and other Republicans playing footsie with Obama and "yukking" it up over cocktails and roasted lamb. 

These "old-guard" Republicans are dupes being used as pawns by Obama to show that he is seeking "bi-partisanship." They'll be the backdrop of the President's photo-op effort to reach out to the Republicans. President Obama knew well in advance that he wasn't about to compromise or listen to any ideas coming from these guys...he just wanted them along to give him some political cover, and they were dumb enough to provide it.

John McCain and Lindsey Graham inviting
Rand Paul to "Come over to the Dark Side"
On Thursday, most Americans were siding with Team Rand Paul. We need some young bloods like Paul, Rubio and Cruz. They've upset the apple cart  

The only ones who didn't care for Paul's filibuster were the Republican ruling establishment, namely Sen. John McCain and Lindsey Graham. McCain belittled Rand Paul's efforts by saying he had violated the rules of the senate. Those are the words of a man who is couldn't be more disconnected. It's like he's on another planet. 

It's like the Titanic sinking and taking on water while John McCain and Lindsay Graham are arguing over how to rearrange the deck chairs. These old-guard Republicans are so out of touch with the American people and they are more concerned with playing politics than standing up to this administration. 

I hope this is not the last that we hear from Rand Paul. I hope he continues to provide us with much needed leadership and inspiration in the months to come. Most of all, I hope he continues to stand-up to President Obama on behalf of the American people and the Constitution.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Ode to my plumber, Poncho.

Oh, Poncho, how cool are you! Let me count the ways. How awesome are you! Let me say it now!
Most of you don't know, but Poncho is my plumber. And here are some examples of what makes him the most awesome plumber EVER!
A while back, we had to call Poncho (he's not Mexican-American, even though from his name, most people seem to think so. He's a southern boy).

I had tried without any success to stop a leak coming from the pipes under the kitchen sink. I am really retarded in the role of handyman. So, Poncho to the rescue! 

Poncho shows up and 3-min. later, he says, "All done!" 
"What??!!" I said, "You're done already?" thinking about how this is really going to kill my manhood. Whatever was wrong took him only 3-minutes to fix. 
"Yep. It was just a loose pipe that needed tightening...that's all!"
 So I ask, "Well, how much do we owe you?" thinking that we're going to pay a minimum of $80-100. just because he walked through our front door. At that very moment, I'm having a flashback to a Friday night about 20 yrs. ago, when we called a recommended plumber who shows up in his Mercedes-Benz (always a scary sight because you know you're going to be helping to finance that Mercedes with this one emergency call. Sure enough, 30 minutes later and $250 poorer, you've made your contribution to the Mercedes fund).
 "Five-dollars." "Five-dollars??!! Are you sure." 
 "Yeah, he says, I'd feel guilty charging you any more for something that just needed tightening. 

Another time, Poncho shows up and doesn't charge us anything and says he'll get us next time around.

Most recently, about 2 wks ago, we had a backed up sewer with sewage coming up in the bathtub and around the toilet. This looked and smelled like a job for Poncho. There's nothing in my Reader's Digest Do-It-Yourself Manual about a backed-up sewer.
Poncho shows up for his appointment 20-min. early along with his daughter, a lovely girl who is in college studying to be an accountant. She doesn't much care for the plumbing business, but she loves her father and she knows which side of the bread is buttered, so for now, she's his part-time assistant.

During the next 80-minutes, Poncho cleans out our sewer in the back of our house, removes a brick from the sewer pipe at the side of the house which I inadvertently knocked down it one day while mowing the lawn. Finally, also unclogs a pipe in the bathroom, and installs a flapper valve in a toilet in another bathroom. Before he leaves, he gives me a helpful hint on what I can do to unstop drains using vinegar and baking soda. This will also keep me from having to call him out to my house. Unbelievable! He's telling me what I can do so I won't have to call him up for a simple stopped up drain. Amazing!!

But, even more incredible is the fact that he only charged us $100. for his 80-min. visit. If you're in NY or NJ and call out a plumber to do everything that Poncho did in 80-min, you'd easily pay $3-400. or more!

When I ask him, "Why do you do it? Why are you so unbelievably reasonable, almost to the point of giving away your service?" He says, "Well, it's because God has blessed me and I don't need much, so if I can bless other people by helping them with their plumbing needs, I want to do it. God's been good to me and I want to pass it on to others." 

Here's what I know...we need more Ponchos in this world. I'm just thankful that I get to see Poncho from time to time because he is always a blessing to me and my family!